The familiar melody was growing louder. Robbie was excited. So often he was forced to listen to those chimes come and go, leaving him with nothing more than a bitter taste of disappointment.
“We’ve got ice-lollies in the freezer,” his mum would say.
Robbie always protested. The ice-cream van sold rocket lollies…
But his mum was unimpressed and poor Robbie had to suffer the ignominy of lolly-shaped lollies while Dean across the street paraded around with his van-purchased Apollolollo.
But that was all going to change today.
Because Gran was visiting.
And Gran had given Robbie a pound coin.
And even though she’d said to put it in his piggy bank, Robbie knew she wouldn’t mind if he bought a rocket lolly instead…
The chimes reached a crescendo as the van pulled into the cul-de-sac. Tony, the ice-cream man, was smiling. Tony always smiled – it was good for business. In truth he hated every second of his working life. When Antonio Senior had fallen ill, Tony had stepped in, to take over the family business. His kid-brother, Giuseppe, was now a celebrated architect, while Tony was stuck in this accursed freezer on wheels.
Robbie knew nothing of Tony’s pain. To Robbie there was no nobler professional than the ice-cream man.
Tony stopped the van in his usual spot. The street erupted into a cacophony of joyful cries as the houses began to hurl children into the road. Squawking and squealing they feverishly scampered towards the van, to plunder its frozen treasures.
Robbie was already in his front garden.
Waiting eagerly for the van to arrive.
He began to run towards his gate, failing to spot the ancient gnome in his path. He tripped and went sprawling into the driveway gravel.
Unscathed he picked himself up, noting the graze on his knee. For a moment everything seemed ok.
Then he saw the droplets begin to appear.
Robbie started to cry. Tears poured down his face as blood poured down his knee.
She picked poor Robbie up.
“Mum, I’m bleeding!” he sobbed.
“Poor baby,” she cooed, “Lets’ get a plaster on it shall we?”
Robbie nodded his consent and mother and child retreated into their abode.
Later Robbie sat licking his freezer-lolly in contemplation.
He’d yet again missed out on a rocket.
But he did have an excellent new scab on his knee…